Shadowshaper



❰Reading❯ ➸ Shadowshaper Author Daniel José Older – E17streets4all.co.uk Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art hanging out with her friends and skating around Brooklyn But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season Sierra's ne Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art hanging out with her friends and skating around Brooklyn But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season Sierra's near comatose abuelo begins to say No importa over and over And when the graffiti murals in Bed Stuy start to weep Well something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going onSierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers who connect with spirits via paintings music and stories Her grandfather once shared the order's secrets with an anthropologist Dr Jonathan Wick who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others one by one With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie Sierra must dodge Wick's supernatural creations harness her own Shadowshaping abilities and save her family's past present and future.Shadowshaper

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Paperback  ì Shadowshaper Kindle ò
  • Paperback
  • 297 pages
  • Shadowshaper
  • Daniel José Older
  • English
  • 13 June 2016
  • 9781338032475

10 thoughts on “Shadowshaper

  1. says:

    YA fantasy I'm a big fan of Older's adult urban fantasy series Bone Street Rumba so I was curious to see how his style would translate into a young adult novel The answer is beautifully Sierra Santiago is a typical Brooklyn teenager just starting her summer vacation She plans to hang out with her friends have some fun and finish painting her dragon mural on the wall of an old half finished high rise development called the Tower which otherwise is an unwelcome eyesore in the neighborhood Sierra's summer plans go sideways when she notices other murals in the neighborhood beginning to change The colors fade The faces cry and change expression Her grandfather debilitated from a stroke becomes lucid just long enough to warn her She is in danger Her whole family and the neighborhood itself will be destroyed She must find a boy named Robbie and together they must finish her mural uicklySierra doesn't understand any of this but she tracks down Robbie at a friends' pool party Before they can even talk a strange pale man like a zombie invades the party and chases after them demanding to know where Lucera is someone Sierra has never heard ofSoon Sierra learns she is part of the community of shadowshapers those who can call upon the spirits of their ancestors and other local ghosts to take form in art music or even storytelling With a uick scribble of chalk you can form a stick figure that comes alive to fight for you or a pair of eyes that flies off into the night and spies for you Imagine what you could do with a meticulously painted wall mural of dragons or skeletons Unfortunately someone is after the shadowshapers Someone wants to take all their power for himself and if he can't he will destroy them Sierra and Robbie are faced with an enemy who can bind and distort spirits and even create horrible zombie like corpuscles from the murdered bodies of people Sierra used to know GROSS If Sierra doesn't learn to use her powers uickly everything she loves will be obliteratedOlder's novel is a real page turner The pacing is perfect with short well crafted chapters The characters immediately grab you Sierra has a wonderful cast of friends to help her and Older's teenage Brooklyn dialogue is so spot on and punchy that reading it is like breathing fresh oxygen I am tempted to think Older is a shadowshaper because he definitely has the ability to channel spirits straight into the writing and bring them to lifeBring on the seuel please

  2. says:

    I’m rather annoyed by the label ‘message fiction’ as I feel like it implies everything else doesn’t have a message Yet I suppose there is a sort of value in the term and implication about the focus of the book Shadowshaper isn’t a message book as much as it is a values book a modern urban fantasy that is solidly representational the sort of book that is likely to drive Bad Luppies into writing ranty blog posts However despite the values focus it is a solid story the sort of book I’d give any young readerIt begins with Sierra Santiago working on a street mural As she’s finishing for the day she realized that the mural of a deceased local man appears to be crying At home her grandfather who has been rendered incomprehensible by a stroke suddenly speaks clearly telling Sierra “they are coming for the shadowshapers” and to talk to “that boy Robbie” as well as apologizing profusely Sierra’s unable to get information from him but at a local party that night she hunts down Robbie a tall attractive Haitian teen with a talent for drawing Before they can get into details about the shadowshapers they are interrupted by a man shambling through the party Before long Sierra is on a mission to discover what’s happening around her aided by Robbie her best friend Bennie her family and even the university librarianThe story is solid The shape of it feels young adult with occasional preoccupations with changing identity within the family focus on friends and romantic attraction I thought it grew reasonably organically and kept a fast pace going It did not reuire the stupid “go off on my own” device or the eually tired “all adults are stupid” set up Writing was solid Description conveyed a sense of place Older did shift into vernacular speech for dialogue “Imma” showed up uite a bit as in “I’m going to go” particularly with the teens which might add realism but for me added some awkwardness The texting mainly annoyed me but it’s an element other readers may enjoy The fantasy elements were about eually split between the art and the corpses chasing them which was a little surprising to me–I expected focus on the art based power but it makes sense by the endWhat is remarkable about it is how ordinary so much of it feels using characters and situations often stereotyped as Other Sierra is lives in Brooklyn New York has a mom who teaches a dad that works and two older brothers who have gown up and are active in their communities Her cliue is a group of teens who are smart have diverse interests and includes an interracial lesbian coupleThere’s older men that hang out on the corner but they are the ones who self publish the newspaper and work to preserve the community Sierra’s kind to her disabled grandfather friendly to everyone and resourceful in problem solving In short despite what some readers may see as unfamiliar trappings it will feel very ordinary in a way most readers should be able to access It’s also pleasant to not have Sierra and her friends’ experiences fetishizedAt the same time Older does a nice job of integrating common experiences a person of color has in a white dominated society Sierra experiences some instances of mild racism when she ventures out of her usual haunts There’s also a small ongoing motif about gentrification He also nicely touches on issue of body imagery and ‘natural hair’ in relation to self esteem and culture with Sierra’s aunt being the worst critic of her natural locks Understand to me none of these felt like prominent parts of the story–they were just the bits that fill in a character’s life I think it provides a valuable representational experienceOverall I am not a fan of the young adult genre so elements that don’t impress me might strongly appeal to genre readers There are a few YA books that are amazing standouts The Scorpio Races Fly by Night Daughter of Smoke Bone–but Shadowshaper is a solid contribution to the genre worthy of gifting to the YA fansteens in your life

  3. says:

    I really appreciate how grounded this book feels in a diverse but rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn The magic system springs out of ancestry and history but has been shaped by the long shadows sorry of colonialism and uneven power dynamics in the US And while the villain is obviously a big threat it feels like the real threat is the rising rent and how everyone is getting driven out of town by rich white peoplePutting on my Dr Spencer hat for a second in this book there's a lot of push back against cultural anthropology that real anthropologists would find unfair and also agree with The classic anthropologists were mostly the progressives of their time not the handmaidens of colonialism they're often depicted as today Contemporary anthropologists do their best to be advocates for the places that they research and the people therein We're social justice warriors Are there power dynamics and problems with elitism and who gets to be an anthropologist? Of course But higher education is getting destroyed in the US and turning YA readers against a whole progressive discipline in this way felt unfair and dangerous to me there was one librarian in particular who should have been a much stronger pro anthro voice All that said it was kinda fun to have a bad guy anthropologist as the villain kind of a Carlos Castaneda figure without the sex appeal who gets warped by the magic he finds in his research Even though he didn't sound like an anthropologist at all from his research journal Like to the point there's a scene where the high school kids are hanging out in a hipster coffee bar and one of them says that if white people can study his Puerto Rican ancestors he should be able to write anthropology about white hipster coffee The answer from anthropology is a resounding yes please I've graded a bunch of papers like that and I've loved every single one Okay taking off the doctor hat so I can nerd outMy favorite scenes were about Sierra and her friends pushing back against gentrification Getting in trouble with hipsters in the fancy coffee shop Painting giant dragon murals on awful new tower buildings that block the view Dancing in old clubs filed with old people everyone with their hair flying and hips rockingThe supporting characters felt really alive and interesting They had a lot of things to say They joked around and supported each other They made funny digs at each other too And the dynamic between the teenagers and the adults felt a little cliche but also right on That's hard to do in YA So it was strange to me that the two leads were cool and arty but somehow felt flat? But I loved their artThe spirit magic is especially cool because it's explicitly consensual These are the spirits who want to hang out and do stuff so they find the shaper so they can work together Sometimes the spirits run off and do their own thing and you're supposed to just let them go The evil magic uses spirits against their will That's a great subtle point and I loved it The actual book is so short that it's odd how bogged down it gets in lengthy explanations of how magic works But I totally understand that as a first book in the series problem and I expect that things get faster in the seuel

  4. says:

    To be sure when a “random old white dude” fancies himself as THE anthropologist guru of urban spirituality systems and thusly thrusts himself into the mythology of the shadowshapers; no good can come from it Oddly the offended fury of the spirits and entities enraged by his pompous presumptions pales in comparison to the wrath our plucky Puerto Rican narrator Sierra is tougher than nails kinder than a kitten cajoling the reader to dive in and hang with her and the vibrant charismatic tightly knit crew that beautify their Brooklyn with gorgeous graffiti art and energetic enchanting rap battles“She inhaled and the world caught its breath; exhaled and a tidal wave of space emptied out around her”In the uest to find the archetypal spirit Lucera Sierra’s stumbling blocks signify social issues of today The answer to her original uery why shadowshapers aren’t well known is sad but true “people don’t see what they’re not looking for” The Columbia librarian coincidentally examining the very anthropologists that study the spirit worlds reminds us of potential fallacies when making snap judgments The horrendous havoc following Lucera’s disappearance is disappointingly confirmation that no one realized how crucial she wasuntil she was gone Mr Older artfully unravels urban spirituality lore in a mesmerizing mystery that feels fascinatingly fresh crisply colorful and invigorating; while simultaneously seeming familiar somewhat nostalgic The dazzling dialogue amuses and delights Initially Shadowshapers can be gobbled upan indulgent pleasure filled immersion Soon though subtle layers leap into the reader like spirits into shadowshapers’ murals conveying hope inspiration and a calming centering of the soul “The true source of shadowshaper magic is that connection communitywe are interdependent”I applaud absolutely every part of this courageous bold book and recommend it to essentially every reader Middle Grade and beyond Undoubtedly I’ll be bouncing around the room for my Shadowshaper Book Talk when I encourage my beloved High School English classes to check this out Tomes tailored to the open and hungry minds of our young adults build bridges and embolden the youth to join like minded Not So Much Young Adults This review was written for Buried Under Books Blog

  5. says:

    35 stars This short book packs a punch A uniue urban fantasy that mixes Latinx folklore with the setting of Brooklyn introducing a uniue magic where ancestral spirits combine with art Shadowshaper isn't only about magic It also discusses racism sexism gentrification family ties and appropriation Definitely check this series out if you are looking for an urban fantasy that is outside the box

  6. says:

    Meh What can go wrong with a book with intricate worldbuilding diverse cast if characters and discussions of sexism and racism? Bad writing I tell you and bland charactersThe Shadowshaper had been on my to read shelf for such a long time and I was so excited to read it especially because of that beautiful cover but the thing is the cover was only interesting thing about it I didn't care for any of the characters I wasn't interested in any action and the only reason I read it till the end was I liked the mash up of urban fantasy with latinx folklore but even that was not exploredLemme give the credits where it's due There was diverse cast of characters both racially and sexually The writer carefully merged experiances of poc in a white dominated society wonderfully He also touches upon matters of gentrification sexism and family ties But none of these problems were strong themes of the book but shown as everyday problem a person might face As I said above I liked the mix up of Latinx folklore and stories of spirits with modern new york settings I liked the concept of murals of vessels for spirits and I was really excited to know about these stuffBUT the problem is it wasn't explored Seirra our main character was an artist and I was so excited to know about her as a painter but this part of her personality wasn't explored much To be very honest her characterization or that of any other characters were so poor There was no personality arc of any character and after about 60% mark I realized I didn't care for any of them at all There was a suble romance but since I didn't care for any of the characters the romance came as even blander for me It was so random and un understandablenot sure if that's a word and so out of place It seems writer added it only to tick on the romance boxMaybe I would have enjoyed the story despise the lack of world building and characterisation if it wasn't for even boring writing This book was supposed to be fast paced but I think I read only 5 chapters of it in first two days Even the action didn't interest me at all and you guys should know that when all fighting andor running scenes become boring for me then there is seriously something wrong At places the plot become very vague and confusing I still can't understand why Lucera ran away from the shadowshapers at the first place this isn't a spoiler and I don't get why was the villian basically a villian either These are pretty basic uestions and I don't think it's made clear There were so many deaths occuring and I just couldn't bring myself to care about any of themFINAL VERDICT Great idea very poor execution I am still very curious about the second part since I'm a sucker for these beautiful covers I hope it's less painful and less boring then this one

  7. says:

    Read it Loved it Just WowLove that COVERFirstly nothing against Cassandra Clare whom I give props to for insisting the character of Magnus Bayne not be whitewashed by Hollywood but Shadowshaper is by far and away better than the Mortal Instruments series Shadowshaper is DIVERSE with an Afro Latina lead heroine Daniel Jose Older's New York looks like the REAL New York a hodgepodge of cultures and peoples who live and breathe and who have brought their uniue folkways to the city that never sleepsIt has been the height of depressing and rather freaking annoying in the IR genre to read yet ANOTHER book featuring a heroine who passes the paper bag test and whose long flowing locks are courtesy of some Native American ancestor I can talk about all the negative messages that sends but that's a post for another time or if you follow me on social media I find it rather telling that most of the books I've read this year including Shadowshaper feature dark skinned Black heroines with natural hair And some of those male authors are NOT Black Sierra Santiago is one of those awesome heroines She's proudly and fiercely Afro Latina with a gorgeous mane of fluffy fro and lots of teen attitude I kept seeing the killer Esmeralda Spalding as Sierra She's an artist full of cultural pride despite the colorism that sadly is as much a part of Latino life as it is here in America and other places I loved how Sierra put her color struck aunt in check after making a disparaging comment about Robbie a young Haitian artist whom Sierra is digging on And while she digs on Robbie when it's time for the mission finding out exactly what shadowshaping is and how to use her powers she's not wasting time hung up on the guy I really hate when authors do that to the heroine and far too many YA authors are guilty of what I call heroine hijackingShadowshaper an awesome urban fantasy story that gets that urban doesn't mean whitewashed Nothing annoys me as much as urban fantasy with all White characters especially when such books are set in ethnically diverse cities What really annoys me is authors who have the unmitigated gall to get their undies in a bunch when readers point that glaring fact out to them And not only is Shadowshaper one of the best examples of what urban fantasy is SUPPOSED to read like but the magic system isn't based in European tradition not that that's a bad thing but let's face it rather overdone but the stories and myths of indigenous cultures and of Africa It's wonderful to see how other cultures look and navigate the unseen worldNot only was I immersed in other traditions but the day to day minutiae of New York life and the struggle between the old neighborhood and gentrification The men playing dominos bodegas that sell soft drinks alongside tamarind juice And Sierra's friends are just as diverse as she is Older writes these characters easily like they're real people It's effortless that Sierra has lesbian best friends who are like any other best friends And yes the idea of salsa thrash metal is just all sorts of cool I asked Mr Older about that on Twitter and he responded fangirl sueeOverall I just cannot rave enough about how awesomely amazing Shadowshaper was If you're that kind of person who still can't wrap your brain around the growing diversity in this country and think the only relatable characters look like you that's a pity because you're going to miss out on an incredible story with lots of adventure a smidgen of romance and just enough chills and thrills to make you see shadows in a whole new light no pun intended

  8. says:

    I love this bookI don't know why this book series isn't hyped I vaguely remember hearing about Shadowshaper when it first came out but then I didn't hear anything else In fact I didn't even know the second book had already been released I can only assume this book series isn't bigger because its characters are all unapologetically Afro Latino and I loved it Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older is part fast paced magical action adventure and part love letter to Brooklyn and the Afro Latino community This book is so much fun and I loved the writing style Older writes the way actual urban kids talk not the way television tells us they talk I felt like I know the characters in this book and felt like I was walking the ever changing streets of Brooklyn with them Sierra our heroine isn't annoying like most Chosen Ones in fantasy novels she doesn't deny or fight her gift and she doesn't spend 75% of the book making stupid mistakes She willing steps into her gift and actually seeks out ways to be better I want to add another aspect of the book I loved this book is one of the rare books to discuss colorism in the black and brown community I don't know why books especially those written by people of color don't discuss this I loved that it was an important storyline in this book I'm recommending Shadowshaper to everyone I love this book

  9. says:

    45 stars I listened to this as an audiobook and wow I'm tacking on an extra half star because the narration was just that good The main character is of Puerto Rican descent living in Brooklyn and the narrator did a fantastic job with everything fron urban accented teen speak to native Spanish wordsThe story was just so rich and multilayered dealing with uestions of identity family and social status Gentrification and the role of culture and colour are brought into play as well but all of this is done without making this book a book about that Those elements are what make up the daily mix of living and provide the canvas for the story; a story about a family in peril with their heritage of magic and supernatural ability on the verge of being lostI also have to mention the cover because not only is it one of my all time favourite covers ever it really does reflect the heart of the story here I can't wait to read the upcoming seuel Shadowhouse Fall

  10. says:

    Its heart was in the right placeI loved the author's ability to situate the story within a diverse New York and all of his sly commentary on racism and sexism though the sexism feels tacked on I love the idea behind the story But the execution just didn't do it for meFor one thing the stakes of the destruction of the shadowshapers were never made clear enough early enough in the story to motivate readers In most fantasy novels the author makes it pretty clear that the protagonist's failure will mean the end of the world but it doesn't need to be this dramatic An imminent break up or divorce illness job loss failure something Anything Instead for most of the book it seems that if Sierra fails a couple of guys she doesn't know might die and they end up dying anyway and her life will go on just as it did before she got involved The characters are two dimensional The plot doesn't make sense For example a mysterious Someone is leaking information about Sierra's plans to the evil Wick She's convinced it's Nydia Accordingly she goes off finds Nydia and threatens her with a fire extinguisher Nydia convinces Sierra it's not her so instead they go off together to threaten the Bad Guys OK so who was the leak then? This is never resolved Or when Manny is killed They go to find Manny Manny's dead body is found Then Manny's dead body becomes Not uite Dead They call the police; the police show up; there is no dead body Major freak out They head out to a club where Sierra's brother is playing to make sure he's ok Since the music is catchy they forget all about Manny and start dancing An unrelated fight breaks out; they stop dancing have a two minute conversation and chase off to Coney Island to confront the Bad Guys without preparation It's just not at all convincing People don't act this way at least not without major brain damageThe idea of it is very cool and it could have been a really good book

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